No one ever plans to go out on disability. However, implementing an exit strategy will protect your disability benefits and make the transition much smoother. This is true regardless of whether you are looking to go out on long or short term disability.
Why were you able to work yesterday, but not today?
First, understand that the insurer will need to identify a change in your condition since you stopped working. Inevitably, the insurer will ask “why were you able to work yesterday, but not today?”
The best way to answer this question is by presenting solid medical evidence. You may also submit non-medical evidence to demonstrate the severity of your disability. The insurer is required to consider each and every item that you present, so having sufficient documentation is crucial.
What is the value of medical evidence?
Objective medical evidence is absolutely necessary to support a strong exit and successfully demonstrate your disability.
We typically recommend that our clients get examined and tested by their treating physicians as soon as possible. Obtaining written comments from your treating physicians about the degree of your disability and resulting limitations may also be very helpful.
If you have already been treating with your physicians, you should continue to do so. If you stop treatment, the insurer may assume that your condition improved. It may be necessary to obtain letters from your doctors indicating what changed in your condition when you had to stop working.
The attorneys at Riemer Hess will carefully review your medical evidence to determine whether it is sufficient to demonstrate your disability. Our attorneys may also recommend that you undergo additional testing, if necessary.
What is the value of non-medical evidence?
You will also have the opportunity to present non-medical evidence. Many clients overlook the value of this non-medical evidence. However, such evidence can provide useful insight for the insurer to better understand the nature and severity of your condition.
Non-medical evidence may include:
- Poor performance assessments from your employer;
- Emails from your employer about poor performance or absences from work;
- Statements from your employer and/or supervisor about your inability to meet work demands;
- A job description from your employer;
- Statements from co-workers, family, and/or friends regarding your symptoms and limitations;
- Your statement regarding how your disability impacted your life;
- A personal diary of your symptoms and difficulties performing daily tasks; and
Providing the insurer with non-medical evidence can be an easy, quick, and cost-effective way to bolster your long or short term disability claim. Each client’s need for non-medical evidence is different, but we typically recommend compiling as much non-medical evidence as possible.
Our attorneys and staff will carefully review your non-medical evidence to ensure that it accurately demonstrates your disability.
In today’s day and age, we also remind our clients to be mindful of their social media accounts when implementing an exit strategy.
A simple web search may be all it takes for the insurer or your employer to find damaging content. Remember that insurers regularly conduct investigation into these accounts, so tightening your privacy settings may not be enough.
If you think that posting infrequently and irregularly will be sufficient, think again.
Say you decide to post an undated nostalgic a photograph of you on vacation from a few years ago. You’re providing an opportunity for the insurer to find that you are not disabled because you still go on vacations.
Now say you decide to post about how you went out for dinner last night. Your post doesn’t mention that you needed to leave early because of your pain. Nonetheless, you’re providing an opportunity for the insurer to find that you are well enough to go out without any issues.
Our best advice is to shut social media accounts entirely. We could all use a little break from them anyway.
Smart planning now will protect your disability benefits now and in the future.
Implementing a strong exit strategy will not only help to ensure a smooth transition, but it may help to protect your long or short term disability benefits in the future.
Riemer Hess will provide you with a clear and customized strategy to ensure your smooth exit. We recognize that each client has different needs and concerns. Thus, your personalized exit strategy by Riemer Hess will be catered to address all of your individual needs and concerns.
Your exit strategy by Riemer Hess will also set you up for the strongest disability application possible. The evidence obtained during implementation of your exit strategy will ultimately bolster your disability application and increase your chances of approval. Riemer Hess keeps organized and detailed records so that the documented received during your exit may seamlessly be used for your application.
Remember that each and every step you take will be thoroughly examined by the insurer. Thus, it is important to tread carefully and meaningfully each step of the way. Riemer Hess will help you get there.